The UAE, according to latest reports, has over 13,000 Emirati women entrepreneurs. Together, they call the shots at over 20,000 business establishments, a number of them small and medium enterprises.
While there are several factors that contribute to the strong participation of Emirati women in the business sector, the vision of the country’s leaders to encourage the active involvement of women across all social and economic realms is of paramount importance. From providing advanced education across various disciplines to creating job opportunities and enabling them to drive their own businesses, the UAE offers women a level playing field that enables them to meet their aspirations and live their dreams. This, of course, is neither a favour nor is it undue patronising. It underlines the genuine concern of the Government to ensure that all segments of the economy have an equal opportunity to be part of the nation’s growth story.
For those who look for stereotypes in the Arab world, the successful track-record of Emirati women in all sectors would serve as a revelation. The most recent statistics underscore the success of a country’s development model that has emphasised on an inclusive and all-round growth.
What is truly remarkable is that Emirati women are demonstrating their entrepreneurial streak in areas that have traditionally been considered as male bastions. Investment and industry are two such areas where women are bringing their competencies. In this, there’s no doubt they can draw on their strong points of intuitive decision-making and a die-hard commitment to achieving their goals. Based on her interviews with several hundred women entrepreneurs globally, Jean Brittingham, the founder and author of ‘The SmartGirls Way’, says women are the world’s experts in promoting collaboration and that when they are passionate about a cause, they never give up.
Globally, more women are stepping forward and making their mark in the entrepreneurial world. According to a study by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there are over 187 million women running businesses in some 59 countries but the gap between men and women entrepreneurs continues to be high. What women entrepreneurs bring to the table is greater economic stability and this is true in several frontier and emerging economies The successful example of micro-financing in India and Bangladesh, before greed and corruption took over this vital sector, is that women can be better money managers than men. The UAE model, however, is distinct. The robust participation of Emirati women in the business sector also means the growth of the small and medium business sector — which is today regarded as the backbone of the country’s economy.
Through sheer ingenuity and an ability to think outside the box, Emirati women are serving as catalysts for the economy — at a grassroots level — where the roots of future growth need to be firmly struck. Khaleej Times